Another AWS re:Invent is now over, and as has come to be expected, the cloud giant made a number of notable announcements during the event.

This year was a bit different, however. Rather than focusing on a slew of new services and service capabilities, AWS instead decided to focus on data. How do you get raw data into AWS? How do you get data out of AWS systems and into other systems? And what do you do with the data once you get it?

Answering these questions supports the company’s primary objective, as both artificial intelligence (AI) and machine learning (ML) require two things: large quantities of data and a large amount of computation.

Historically, AWS has had the computational ability to satisfy all the AI/ML needs you could ever imagine. But, according to AWS, the need for greater management and control over large quantities of data is essential, and it has been hard at work building the necessary tools that will allow it to become the preeminent data store for the internet.

Not that AWS isn’t already the data leader. The Amazon S3 service alone has recently passed the 100 trillion object mark. That’s 1,000 objects for every human being who has ever lived on Earth—and that’s just one service! But even that is not sufficient for data-hungry AWS.

And so, this was the year of data announcements. I won’t go through the list of announcements made at AWS re:Invent here; plenty of pundits are doing that. If you want to see what was announced by AWS, take a look here.

Is AWS losing its leadership position in the industry?

The truth is, this set of announcements was nowhere near as lengthy as what we’ve grown accustomed to hearing from the company every year at AWS re:Invent, the company’s annual flagship event.

Honestly, this was a pretty dull set of announcements. If you believe TechCrunch, perhaps the era of constant invention at Amazon is over. While this may be an exaggeration, it is a potential concern for AWS. And this is the second year in a row for this to happen because last year’s AWS announcements were pretty ho hum, too.

So, is this the beginning of the end of AWS? Nope, not even close. But is it the beginning of the end of the company’s dominance in determining and driving the future direction of cloud computing? Perhaps.

You see, up until now AWS has been the undisputed leader in setting the strategic direction for cloud computing across the industry. But perhaps now other companies can step up and take a leadership position.

But exactly who could take that leadership position away from AWS? Microsoft Azure? Probably not. Microsoft has struggled to get out of a very narrow view of the cloud, and the company doesn’t really have a strong, forward-looking, overriding cloud vision yet.

What about Google Cloud? Also doubtful. GCP has had numerous opportunities to overtake AWS but it has continued to falter. It hasn’t gotten over the hump yet to become truly competitive with AWS. It is improving, but a bit too slowly to be considered a forward-looking, strategic cloud leader.

Most likely, if AWS gives up the strategic leadership title, it will be to a company that is in the next tier of cloud companies. But who? No one clearly comes to mind.

So, for now, Amazon is still the strategic worldwide cloud leader. And who knows, it’s always been bad business to bet against Amazon. This may be another case where it would be bad business to bet against the company’s continued dominance. I certainly won’t bet against them.

But to get the real answer to that question, once again, only time will tell. 2023 should be an exciting year for the cloud.

More articles by Lee Atchison: